Hello, I’m Petra and I am not only a member of Oasis but also a member of the Cake and Revolution (C&R) WI. So, you may ask, how did I come to choose and join the C&R WI?
In 2020 the WI National ran an advertising campaign across various social media platforms identifying that the WI was friendly and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. As I happen to be one of the “T’s”, seeing that advert triggered me to do some research which brought me to the Unofficial WI Facebook group which I joined. I put a feeler post out in the UWI Facebook group offering an evening Zoom session for LGBTQ+ people and got a good response and so I ran a couple of meetings out of which I identified the C&R. Due to other commitments, I have had to temporarily stop running those evening Zoom’s though I hope to restart at some time in the near future.
During 2020 I gave a number of talks titled “Have you never met a Trans Woman” including one live audience one just prior to the first Covid-19 lockdown, three via Zoom to various WI groups and one via Zoom to trainee GP’s undergoing their 3 year post grad training at our local NHS Trust. In my talk, I cover my life to date from my earliest feelings (pre‑school) through work and marriage to my ‘egg’ cracking and my ‘acceptance’ as being transgender in August 2015 and subsequent counselling and psychological assessment that lead to hormone treatment and getting a new passport that identifies my gender as female (August 2019). However the passport does not change my legal ‘sex’, it is still as assigned at birth (need a Gender Recognition Certificate to do that).
I use my journey as a lead into a general discussion about transgender issues, chromosomes, genes, sex, intersex and gender and how incredibly complex we humans are, raising awareness being my goal. You see, just like the person who is left handed or dyslexic, we Trans people have no choice, we are born that way.
Being a baby boomer (born in December 1946) there was no knowledge generally available on transgender at that time or whilst I was growing up. The media right through to the mid 1990’s, the terms in regular usage were drag queens, transvestites and “cross-dressers, often in association with male homosexuality, many articles were derogatory.
Today, though the term “transgender or trans” is used, quite often articles have a strong anti-trans stance which is also reflected in Social Media channels. The term “transgender” itself wasn’t coined until 1965 by John F Olivan, a Psychiatrist, in a published medical text “Sexual Hygiene and Pathology”, but there being no Internet at the time and being a very specialist subject, that knowledge wouldn’t have reached the general medical profession.
It wasn’t until the late 1990’s early 2000’s that cheap, and always on Internet became available and web sites started appearing that were addressing sex and gender differences. As the 00’s decade rolled on, more web sites started carrying sex/gender information, typically these were Universities and medical research groups and Social Media started gaining ground from the late 00’s. Add 2G/3G/4G Internet availability to the mobile ‘phone and the development of the Smart ‘phone and you had a revolution.
Suddenly we found the words, the terms to describe ourselves and the supporting science, we were Transgender people, not odd or a ‘one off’ and there was a medical term for us. We were part of a larger body of people who had the same issues (approximately 1 in 200) and could, by way of social media, reach out and connect. We were not alone any more. This perfect storm has dramatically effected the transition time-lines of many transgender individuals.
I was interviewed by ITV Anglia in mid-2019 and subsequently they aired that interview as part of their Transgender Awareness Week series of news items. That news item is still available and you can watch it by clicking on the image.